They don't make 'em like they used to

Sometime this summer, the Sprague Street Bridge in Hyde Park's Readville section gets torn down to be replaced (over a two-year period). The bridge, which crosses some train tracks, is just too old and out of shape, apparently, to warrant repair. It's a shame because it's a throwback to an earlier era, as well as visually fascinating, full of interesting and weird angles - some of which, from the right vista, make the whole thing look like it's about to tumble down:

More Sprague Street Bridge photos

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Community Journalist? Meet the Writers Union

Given all the interest in community journalism, I thought that Hub contributors might want to be a local group of writers-- the Boston chapter of the National Writers Union. There's an event tomorrow where members will read from their published works, including Howard Zinn. Cambridge YMCA, 2pm - 5pm. Potluck: attendees are encouraged to bring food to share.

Postscript (Thursday): I thought I'd add a brief report on Sunday's meeting. There were over 60 people there, about 3/4 were woman, and just a few people overall were younger than thirty (such as myself). We shmoozed first while we sampled the vegetarian potluck spread. I mentioned to people that I had studied blogs, and I kept hoping to learn what professional writers though of them, but everybody had questions for me.

The main speaker was Howard Zinn, a longtime NWU member. What he said was not a surprise to anyone familiar with his politics. On one hand, he was still depressed by the elections of the U.S.-- and that's putting it mildy. On the other, he's very inspired by the level and breadth of activism in the U.S. and around the world, saying that it's even greater than it was in the 60's. On writing, he saluted those writers who are able to transcend national boundaries, citing Kurt Vonnegut, Barbara Kingsolver, and Ha Jin as current favorites.

He also mentioned that he was very disappointed with the "mainstream media" (and later used the term "major media.") This was again no surprise to me, but it set up a question for me to ask. I pointed out that I keep hearing that the left dislikes the mainstream media, the right hates it, and when I was at a Harvard conference last month (which my report, as it turns out, was in the spirit of "A People's History") the mainstream media was was there as well, and they said they didn't like the mainstream media either. Getting my laughs, I then asked him whether he saw any hope in the "citizen's journalism that was happening on the Internet."

Zinn lit up. He was amazed at how many things were getting sent to him by email from all over the world, and felt that the level of activism we see in the world today couldn't be possible without the Internet. He explained that a former student of his forward it all to him-- I suppose that's the person who maintains his website. But he didn't speak at all about blogging or even the web, and is probably not up-to-date on the lingo, about the fact that citizen-journalism, in theory, is supposed to give voices to more regular people. I would have followed up, but he had to leave before the end.

We heard readings from more local authors, too: Clint Richmond, Political Places of Boston; Marjorie Stockford, The Bellwoman: The Story of the Landmark AT&T Sex Discrimination Case; Dan Gordon, Cape Encoutners: Contemporary Cape Cod Ghost Stories; Wafaa' Al-Natheema, Untamed Nostalgia: Wild Poems; Field C. Ruwe, Dying of Colors: From Diabolical Experiements to Human Genome; Jeannette Angell, CallGirl. I remember Jeannette's the best, but that's possibly because she read last.

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Fark this

The Globe reports on the winner of the FleetCenter name game for Feb. 28. Well, sort of. Seems it's a certain Web site:

The Globe isn't publishing the name of the site because it contains links to pornography.

Well, that's just Farking ridiculous, no? But it makes you wonder. What stories about lower Washington Street have we missed out on because the street has (or used to have) stores that sell pornography? And what about the "sponsored link" to Comcast, which offers access to several soft-core porn channels? Tsk.

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Boston Camerata

Tim reports:

My parents arrived yesterday afternoon from North Carolina, and last night we took them into Harvard Square to see the Boston Camerata. I've written about the Camerata before, and based on the fact that their recording of medieval and early American Christmas carols is one of our all time favorites, you can imagine the excitement. My mom, in fact, leaned over before the show started and said, "Who could have guessed twenty years ago when I bought that record that I'd be seeing the Boston Camerata in Cambridge?" ...

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Can I quote you?

If you live in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville, you may see some familiar items in the City Weekly section in this Sunday's Globe - blog posts you might have seen linked  from here.

As an experiment, I'm now compiling a digest of some of the more interesting posts from bloggers in those communities for that part of the paper. Who knows, it could become a regular column, I think under the name "Blog Log."

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A Bulger finally gets what he deserves

That would be Billy, not the still missing Whitey. Carpundit is loving how a state appeals board cut his pension for his time as UMass president - you know, the one he argued should be based on his salary AND his driver's salary and his pension and his etc., etc.:

... It's a new day, Bulger. Your crime family no longer runs things; no one cares what you think about anything. Well, maybe one thing: where the hell is your mass-murdering brother?

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Best burger ever?

The Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown (627 Mt. Auburn St.) claims to have "the BEST BURGER EVER" - made, as it is, from an American version of Kobe beef. Matt puts the $11 burger to the test and reports that while the first bite is mouth nirvana, he finds the ultimate experience wanting:

... I must say, the beef doesn't have much trouble eliciting a first-bite reaction of "HOLY FUCKING SHIT, THIS IS THE BEST BURGER EVER". Unlike most diner hamburgers, the grind is rich and tender, and has a subtle and distinctive flavor all its own.

But then he makes the mistake of taking more bites (and don't even get him started on the cole slaw).

Via Lisa, who knows a thing or two about Watertown eateries.

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